A public servant in Singapore was arrested for leaking classified information, police said in a release on June 14. He was an authorised recipient of classified documents but he chose to share them in a private WhatsApp group.

The 50-year-old was allegedly sharing resumption activities in Phase 2 of post-circuit-breaker plans with members of the WhatsApp group on June 11. He was arrested under the Official Secrets Act by the police on June 13.

"On June 12, Police received a report that information about the second phase of resumption of activities post-circuit breaker was circulating via WhatsApp messages amongst members of the public. The information was subsequently further disseminated from this chat group, resulting in wider circulation of the message," the police said.

Under the Official Secrets Act, a person found guilty of the charges under Section 5(1) could be fined up to S$2,000 and or face up to two years in prison under its Section 17(2).

"Unauthorised recipients should also not further circulate the confidential information received, as they may be similarly liable under the Official Secrets Act," the police said, adding that they were still investigating the case further.

Singapore Police Force
Singapore Police Force Reuters

Similar Instances

Three people were arrested in April this year including a woman under the OSA. They were allegedly sharing information related to COVID-19. The woman, who worked with the Ministry of Health was sharing Singapore's COVID-19 figures before they were officially released on WeChat.

She also accessed the government's COVID-19 database without any authorization and retrieved information relating to a patient who tested positive. She later shared the information with a friend. As per police, she shared such information on multiple occasions. The woman was also charged with the Computer Misuse Act. If proven guilty, she could face up to S$5,000 and two years in jail.

In a different case, also in April, a 37-year-old public servant and her husband were arrested for sharing media statement drafts on WhatsApp. It was the joint statement by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and the Ministry of Education (MOE) detailing the closure of schools and arrangements for online classes. She leaked the documents before it was officially, said the police.

The Singapore government began reopening its economy on June 2 in multiple phases. By the end of June, Phase 2 will likely to be implemented, followed by Phase 3 of total reopening.